Benjamin Fernandes

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Benjamin Fernandes
Benjamin Fernandes speaking at Harvard Business School.jpg
Benjamin Fernandes speaking at Harvard Business School
Born25 November 1992
ResidenceDar es Salaam, Tanzania
NationalityTanzanian
Alma materUniversity of Northwestern - St. Paul (B.A.) Stanford Graduate School of Business (M.B.A.) John F. Kennedy School of Government (Exec.)
OccupationThe Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
AwardsAfrica MBA Fellowship, MBA World Summit, Top 15 Most Influential Tanzanians

Benjamin Fernandes (born 25 November 1992) is a Tanzanian award-winning speaker, entrepreneur and former national television presenter. He worked at The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the United States in their Digital Team and Financial Services team. He is the first[1] Tanzanian to attend Stanford Graduate School of Business as an Africa MBA Fellow [2] and the youngest African to ever be accepted to Stanford Graduate School of Business. In 2017, Fernandes became the first Tanzanian in history to attend both Stanford Graduate School of Business and Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government for an executive education program.[3] In January 2018, Fernandes was listed by Avance Media as the 15th Most Influential Young Tanzanian for the year 2017.[4]

Early life[edit]

Raised in Tanzania, Fernandes was born to Pastor Vernon and Anny Fernandes in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Fernandes attended Haven of Peace Academy on scholarship where he was known as being one of the lowest academically performing students who failed to improved by the time he left.[5] Fernandes was given a conditional scholarship offer by the University of Northwestern - St. Paul, in Roseville, Minnesota, U.S. where he was president of numerous clubs and groups on campus. He was a community organizer in Dar es Salaam before moving to the United States for his MBA. Fernandes worked at Agape Television Network owned by his father Rev. Dr. Fernandes[6] as a television personality from the age of 17. He began hosting sports shows and later started interviewing politicians and entrepreneurs.[7]

In 2012, Fernandes received national attention during the London 2012 Olympics as a presenter on national TV in Tanzania. In 2014, he graduated from the University of Northwestern – St. Paul with top honours in the United States. Shortly after graduation, he was asked to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup on national TV in Tanzania, and then continued his career in television. In 2014, he was accepted to Stanford Graduate School of Business, winning a $160,000[8] Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship to attend–an award received by 8 students from 8000 African applicants to Stanford. With his sister he worked with their church started by his father in Tanzania to co-found an orphanage called Diamond Village. They cleared a field in Bunju, Dar es Salaam to build the orphanage, teaching the children English and Mathematics.

Stanford[edit]

In August 2015, Fernandes moved to Palo Alto, California to begin his time at Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is part of the Africa Business club and has been working on a financial technology project to launch in Tanzania. In January 2016, he was selected by TRUE Africa as one of the "Top 16 Africans leading change in 2016.".[9] Shortly after, FastJet airlines featured[10] his work in Tanzania in their online airline magazine. He was listed as a "Voice of Hope for Tanzania." In March 2016, he was selected to attend the MBA World Summit in Miami, Florida, and, at the conference, he was awarded[11] as the best speaker for the event. He was presented with the MBA World Summit Award for 2016.[12] In mid-September 2016, he was featured on several live television shows on Clouds TV Tanzania, CNBC Africa,[13] and TV1 Tanzania.

In 2016, Fernandes worked at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington before returning to his final year of business school at Stanford Graduate School of Business.[14] Fernandes continues to work at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on a consultancy basis today.

In 2017, Fernandes won several awards at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Fernandes won the Frances and Arjay Miller Award in Social Innovation for his work in developing the financial services sector in Tanzania.[15] Additionally, he won the Miller Social Change Leadership award nominated by fellow students and professors at Stanford Graduated School of Business.[16]

Return home to Tanzania[edit]

On June 17, 2017, Fernandes graduated from Stanford Graduate School of Business and decided to return home to Tanzania. A decision that stunned many Tanzanians given his potential salary offerings in the United States. Stanford Graduate School of Business has the highest post MBA Salary than any other school in the world. In the year 2016, the lower average salary offering for a graduating student in 2016 was TSH 418 Million ($179,346).[17] This decision to return home was covered all over the press in Tanzania, initially through a viral interview video by MillardAyo,[18] mentioning his potential salary offerings he could've gotten in the United States which was shared across the country, then making the front page of national newspaper, Mwananchi.[19]

From the 7 Africa MBA Fellows of the Stanford MBA Class of 2017 class, Fernandes is the only African who has decided to return home to his home country immediately full-time.

Fernandes has made a commitment to serving Tanzania with interest in financial services and supporting Tanzania’s young and youthful population.

Youth Seminars[edit]

Since returning home, within 200 days, Fernandes has held 26 seminars on entrepreneurship in 4 different regions across Tanzania, with over 22,000 people in cumulative attendance.[20] Government officials show up in support of Fernandes' youth initiatives around the country[21] and Fernandes are started to focus on women empowerment by engaging fellow Tanzanian celebrities to join him.[22]

Tanzania Tourism[edit]

Fernandes is an active contributor to the tourism industry in Tanzania, Since 2015, Fernandes and his sister have hosted over 200 graduate students from the United States. Every year, he hosts a trek with graduate students from Stanford and Harvard in Tanzania, hiking up Mount Kilimanjaro, going on safari through Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, visiting Zanzibar and finally exposing his peers to business investment opportunities in Tanzania.[23] Fernandes uses tourism as a way to support the community, building solar panels in remote regions of Tanzania and Zanzibar, providing them with electricity for the first time.[24]

Harvard[edit]

October 2017, Fernandes became the first Tanzanian in history to attend both (Stanford Graduate School of Business - MBA) and (Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government).[3]

On, October 8, 2017, Fernandes began his first class at Harvard Kennedy School of Government for a program in executive education. Fernandes also becomes the youngest person in history to be accepted to Harvard Kennedy School of Executive education, a program catered to senior executives in business. Fernandes received a full scholarship to attend the executive program at Harvard.[3]

Entrepreneurship[edit]

Fernandes is the Founder and CEO of NALA, a Tanzanian digital financial services platform building that enables mobile money payments offline.[25] In August 2018, NALA won the EcoBank Africa FinTech Challenge 2018.[26] In November 2018, NALA won the AppsAfrica Disruptive Innovation in Africa 2018 award for their work in pioneering digital app payments in Africa offline. NALA came ahead of 300 companies in Africa.[27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Qorro, Edward (2015-08-23). "FEATURE : Young Tanzanian's journey to the prestigious Stanford - News". The Citizen. Archived from the original on 2016-09-18. Retrieved 2016-09-01.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-09-18. Retrieved 2016-09-01.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b c "Tanzanian making history in America at Harvard University". www.ippmedia.com. Archived from the original on 24 October 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Most Influential Young Tanzanians". tz.avancemedia.org. Archived from the original on 25 March 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Benjamin asimulia alivyokuwa wa mwisho darasani – Millardayo.com". millardayo.com. Archived from the original on 16 September 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  6. ^ michael, hesi. "Rev. Vernon and Anny Fernandes of Agape World Ministries, Tanzania". Manna express. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  7. ^ poetsandquants.com/2017/04/26/story-tanzania-olympics-stanford-gsb/
  8. ^ "Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship Application Requirements | Stanford Graduate School of Business". Gsb.stanford.edu. Archived from the original on 2016-08-30. Retrieved 2016-09-01.
  9. ^ "16 for 16: New faces on their exciting work in Africa & the diaspora | TRUE Africa". Trueafrica.co. 2015-09-01. Archived from the original on 2016-09-11. Retrieved 2016-09-01.
  10. ^ "Travelsmart – Issue 13 by Land & Marine Publications Ltd". issuu. Archived from the original on 2016-09-20. Retrieved 2016-09-01.
  11. ^ Karin, Esther (2016-03-22). "Award winning business student soars high abroad - Success". The Citizen. Archived from the original on 2016-09-18. Retrieved 2016-09-01.
  12. ^ "Tim-Eisenmann-Award". www.mbaworldsummit.com. Retrieved 2016-09-16.
  13. ^ "Video - CNBC Africa". cnbcafrica.com. Archived from the original on 7 November 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  14. ^ topmba.com/why-mba/mba-alumni-stories/lessons-stanford-mba-experience-benjamin-fernandes
  15. ^ "Stanford GSB Recognizes Student Leaders Committed to Social Change". stanford.edu. Archived from the original on 12 March 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  16. ^ "Certificate & Award Recipients". stanford.edu. Archived from the original on 12 March 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  17. ^ "All-Time Record Pay For Stanford MBAs". poetsandquants.com. 17 November 2016. Archived from the original on 26 October 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  18. ^ "Mtanzania aliyekataa mshahara wa Tsh. milioni 425 Marekani amerejea nyumbani – Millardayo.com". millardayo.com. Archived from the original on 9 September 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  19. ^ "Mtanzania aacha mshahara wa Sh400 milioni Marekani". mwananchi.co.tz. 10 July 2017. Archived from the original on 18 October 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  20. ^ "Five Tanzanians selected for prestigious Acumen Fund Fellows Program". www.ippmedia.com. Archived from the original on 25 March 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  21. ^ http://www.ippmedia.com/en/news/entrepreneurship-seminar’s-driving-forward-youth-mwanza Archived 2018-03-25 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Tanzanian stars commit to women empowerment and advocacy". www.ippmedia.com. Archived from the original on 25 March 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  23. ^ "US students united at Mt Kilimanjaro summit". www.ippmedia.com. Archived from the original on 25 March 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  24. ^ "Marekani watoa msaada wa umeme Zanzibar". www.ippmedia.com. Archived from the original on 25 March 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  25. ^ "Meet Tanzania Genius Pioneering Offline Digital App Payments". IPP Media. IPP Media.
  26. ^ Jackson, Tom. "Meet the Ecobank Fintech Challenge Winner Tanzanias NALA". Disrupt Africa. Disrupt Africa.
  27. ^ "Tanzanian wins AppsAfrica Award in Disruptive Innovation 2018". IPP Media. IPP Media.

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